1 Apr 2021  •  Blog, Mental Health, Practice Management  •  4min read By  • Gary Nelson

A brighter spring…

Spring is here and many of us are happy to see the longer days that come with it.

Looking back, February was, for many, the most challenging month of the year yet, and in that month I had phone calls with many clients where all these practices were struggling with three main areas: staff, patients and people generally being tired.

Looking at these areas, I believe there are some things you can do to improve the situation…

Staffing issues

A workplace issue is developing at pace in dentistry, and it is around staffing numbers. At the moment the dental airwaves are full of job adverts for dental nurses, hygienists and now for associate dentists as, sadly, people continue to walk away from the profession.

What can you do?

If you haven’t already, make your practice the place where everyone wants to work. I have blogged quite a few times on the power of thank you, and over the years many of you will no doubt have thanked your team.

Now it is time to do that again. Find individual ways to carry out a random act of kindness to each team member. It doesn’t have to be a huge gesture, just thoughtful and shows appreciation. Remember the power of the spoken word and that a handwritten note with a gift can create magic.

The team as a whole is one of the hands that feeds you and your business, and without their support you can’t function, never mind offer a top-notch service.

So, make your practice the place staff want to stay and want to work for.

Unhappy patients

With many NHS practices not operational at anywhere near normal levels, there are a growing number of unhappy patients who think dentists are not caring for them.

What can you do?

What you should do is tell them how much you and your team value them. And then tell them again, and again, and again! Whether it be through signage in the practice, via social media, or on your website, spread the message you value all your patients.

You could say something like: ‘We would like to say a huge thank you to our entire team and thank you to our patients for their support. Since we have reopened, the superb efforts of the team in trying and often tiring conditions have allowed us to provide care for XX number of patients. We constantly strive to provide a Covid-safe environment and enjoy caring for our community, and it’s our super team that have allowed us to do just that!’

A post similar to that above shows how grateful you are to your patients, and that emotion of gratitude is often what separates one business from another. It also places your practice as one that is open and caring for the community.

People are tired

Now, this one isn’t rocket science – people are tired and this undoubtedly includes you and your team. When tiredness kicks in, your body language will slump a little and the tone of your language can drop.

What can you do?

The first thing you can do is be aware of it and encourage your team to be aware of it.

By just reading this you are quite possibly becoming aware of it yourself, and there are things you can do in practice to combat it when you are around patients.

Sitting or standing up straighter can help as 80 per cent of face-to-face communication is told through the non-verbal aspects to language, like posture and tone. Smiling is another way of helping to combat tiredness within your practice. Not always easy, but worth the effort!

This can all be difficult when covered head to toe in PPE and working through the current situation, but addressing these areas can have a big impact on your team and patients.


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